Women of My Family

My name is Arwa, and I was raised by a line of strong women starting with my great-great grandmother. These women instilled independence in me at a very young age.

While there are so many elements that make a family happy and joyous, I wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the women: my aunts and cousins, sisters and mother, and even my little niece. It’s shocking to see just how much power and grace the women of my family exude. These women have had their fair share of a difficult life and yet came out on the other side swinging.

There has not been a moment in my life in which I haven’t been grateful for this family and these women’s presence in my life. Without them here to constantly inspire me and motivate me to try harder, I wouldn’t exactly be me. Plus, I can’t even begin to imagine missing out on all the yummy food and great laughs!Though with time many things have changed, these women will always be the women that inspire me, teach me to be proud of who I am, and encourage me to live the life that I want. We are a family of tough cookies and that’s so not changing!

The drawings shown are my way to say thank you to my family. The activities shown are the moments which are dearest to me, and I feel like they really add to make our bond stronger.

“It is always the little things that we find the most joy in."

There’s a vivid picture in my head of the day when my mother taught me how to hold a crochet hook in one hand and wrap the yarn on the finger of the other. I remember her showing me how to pull the thread into intricate knots and delicate designs, leaving me with my very first crochet flower. It's still a prized possession of mine.

I have countless memories of either my fingers running through my sister’s hair or hers running through mine while we helped each other achieve the perfect knot of the bun and the twist of the braid for that one event we'd planned for two weeks ahead.

I remember my sweet little niece riding on my shoulders, having a hearty laugh, while I hoped she'd grow up to know that there are greater heights than my shoulders that she could and would reach.

I hope to make more drawings as an ode to more memories made with more women, each of whom has inexplicably empowered me.

By Arwa Halai

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